This summer we learned Hello Kitty, the global personification of kitsch-cute, was not a cat after all, but a third grader named "Kitty White" who lives with her parents and twin sister in London. Wait, WHAT?
While she does in fact own a cat, fans were upset by the announcement, and felt betrayed by parent company, Sanrio, for dropping the bombshell news 40 YEARS LATER. Here's a few more facts you probably didn't know about Hello Kitty:
1. Over 22,000 Hello Kitty products exist today, and Sanrio creates 100-200 new products each month.
2. On her 35th anniversary, Sanrio and creator Yuko Shimizu designed a custom Hello Kitty doll with 19,636 encrusted diamonds. It's worth $152,585.
3. The first Hello Kitty product ever sold in Japan was a vinyl coin purse for 240 Yen (or $3.07) in 1974.
4. Hello Kitty is now worth $7 billion dollars (and Sanrio has never spent a dime on advertising).
5. Hello Kitty has her own theme park, airline, restaurant, music album, dental clinic, and maternity hospital.
6. Hello Kitty made her TV debut in 1987, and until then only existed as an image on merchandise.
7. Hello Kitty’s faceless expression is her major selling-point across most age groups and markets.
8. Despite her popularity, Sanrio is still struggling to create new characters that can match her success:
9. Hello Kitty is not just for young girls anymore. To stay competitive, Sanrio also offers motor oil, wine, male underwear, and smart cars -- even sex toys!
10. Did you know Hello Kitty's bow colors have different meanings? Red represents Friendship, Pink represents Cute, Yellow represents Heartful, Green represents Wish, and Lavender represents Sweet.
To see the original 10 Things You Didn't Know About Hello Kitty, click here.